Fandom: Doctor Who
Spoilers: Takes place after DW LotTL
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/Jack
Summary: Why does the Doctor really keep disabling Jack's vortex manipulator? Ten reflects on why he likes Jack to stay in one place.
Author’s Notes: Written for wintercompanion for this prompt: “Why does the Doctor really keep disabling Jack's vortex manipulator?”
Sure, he can be all high and mighty and insist that he's just doing it to keep Jack out of trouble, but the Doctor knows it's not the real reason. He might even be doing more harm than good, if he's honest, since a bored and immortal Jack with no way out has more potential to destroy the timeline than the same man flitting across time and space as a traveler, a mere observer to events rather than an active participant in them.
But nevertheless the Doctor will always do it, clicking to the correct setting on his sonic screwdriver before melting the wires in Jack's vortex manipulator so that it will only be able to manage the simplest of communications. Because even though he doesn't like to admit it, the Doctor likes to know exactly when he can find Jack, so that he won't have to give chase across an entire universe and entire millennia. While it’s true that Jack's immortality gives him an inherent sense of wrongness that makes the Doctor squeamish to be near, it is also true that Jack is a fixed point in time and space, something that never changes and never would change. It’s a steadiness that the Doctor rarely has in a life full of running and adventure, and every so often it’s a nice change.
It’s rather like staring directly into the sun. The Doctor knows he shouldn’t do it, it’s bad for him and he’ll eventually go blind and be unable to see the finer details of time flowing past him, but he can’t stop because the brightness is mesmerizing and addicting in its own dangerous way. Jack is so very much a sun in a galaxy of life, burning brightly for what seems like an eternity and pulling whatever poor lost body that’s just passing through ever closer to his gravitational center.
Which is why, the Doctor muses as he watches Jack run down the Plass, back to the team who is no doubt waiting for their leader to return, which is why he will always come back to find Jack, whatever the incarnation or whatever the circumstance. Jack’s pull is strong and can’t be ignored, not even by an experienced Time Lord; and no matter how far away on a completely different orbit he is, the Doctor will always come back.